Jump to content

I'd like advice on coming to terms with being Aromantic


Recommended Posts

Lupin-
Posted (edited)

[Edited the title because it looked like I was going to be the one giving advice to others.]

 

To open with my customary preface, I don't think being aromantic / aromanticism is an inherently bad thing or that it's anything to be ashamed of, hence the pride flag in my profile picture.

 

However! I'll admit that part of the reason for the flag is to force myself to accept the fact that I am (at least, I'm 90% sure that I am) aromantic. Which is a little difficult. 

  I think romance is sweet, if kind of overdone. I would be quite happy to experience it. More to the point, I feel like I SHOULD be experiencing it, and that by not being able to I'm severely missing out.

  With my asexuality, this is not the case. I'm not sure why that is, but the majority of the time I'm indifferent to the idea of having sex, and you can be sure I'll duly avoid it where possible. But while I'm fine with being asexual, I sort of trip up when it comes to being aromantic.

  Presumably, this is because of how prevalent the idea of a romantic (and sexual, but that kinda comes pre-packaged in people's minds) relationship is. It's everywhere! You can't escape. Books, movies, songs, poetry, you name it, you'll find it, and it'll be BIG in that area of media. I read a lot, but I don't think I've ever picked up a romance novel in my life. Nevertheless, I'm still able to find it in the genres I like. The same goes for movies. There are absolutely exceptions — I don't need to say that. Toy Stories 1—3 are some of my favourite animated movies for a reason, seeing as they're mainly about friendship. But even there, romance creeps in.

  I'm not demanding that society stop talking about love for my sake. The fact is, it IS a nearly universal experience and it DOES inspire people, and of course they want to express that fact. I'm happy to tolerate the flood of romance. But it disheartens me. I want to know what all the fuss is about, but it looks very likely that I never will!

  This is not to discredit other forms of love and relationships. Logically, I'm aware that they exist and are just as fulfilling and important. Romance is not the be-all-end-all. But it's one thing to know that and another to fully believe it, and unfortunately for me, I have not quite reached that stage. This is what I'm looking for advice on how to do. 

 

I know that nobody will have magic words that'll make me change my mindset overnight. No worries about that. Anything helps!

Edited by Lupin-
Link to post
Share on other sites
Prince Candy

Hey so idk if this is what would help you, but I think aromantic doesn’t mean lack of romantic feelings but lack of romantic attraction. You can still dream about having a romantic relationship and could incorporate some romantic elements into a QPR if you’d like (I’m in a QPR rn and we hug so dar but I also wouldn’t mind hand-holding and you know, tame but romantic stuff).
The other thing is, I think even alloromantics can’t find a partner they’re attracted to sometimes so you can also view yourself as that if it’s more comfortable to you. I think though that you’d feel more comfortable with the aromantic label if it was more widely known and less misunderstood.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The first thing to understand about aros is that no two aros are alike. There are so many ways someone can be aro (or arospec), and aro also does not have to mean for everyone you are now obliged to despise all forms of romance, not feel any love, etc. Well, except in MY case, I actually AM strongly repulsed by romance, never had romantic feelings OR attraction and it never crossed even my mind to seek any kind of loving/romantic relationship and I knew that from a pretty young age, too. My aromanticism came to me completely naturally and I never had a problem with it. While I took much longer to accept my asexuality. Funny, right? The reason for me I denied my asexuality for so long is that I really wanted to 'fit in', 'be normal', in other words: COMPLY with the idea you must have sex(ual attraction). But one day I realized it's all bullshit.

 

That having said, aromanticism doesn't have to manifest in my way. Some aros do feel love and even that isn't neccessarily romantic love. The word "love" has many meanings. Aromantic also does NOT mean you mustn't feel affection or think that something is 'cute', or appreciate beauty, etc. There are many things an aro can do without voiding the "aro" label. :)

 

 

 

Another thing to understand is amatonormativity. Except, you can't understand it, because it's irrational. It's incorrect that everyone seeks romantic relationships, feels love, romantic attraction, etc. But remember that no matter how much society embraces romantic love, understand none of this invalidates YOUR feelings.

 

Now the question I ask you is that your desire to know "what it's like" is due to serious curiosity or is it due because of compliance? Remember, amatonormativity is BS, so compliance for the sake of it is pointless.

 

Be also careful with "tolerating" too much of the romance flood. Because much of it (not all!) is sadly embracing amatonormativity which is NOT OK. Don't buy into amatonormative bullshit, don't tolerate it. IMO amatonormative bullshit needs to be called out when seen, otherwise things will never improve. It is one thing when culture is full of romance, but it is a completely different thing when it's a culture that also views arospec people as "heartless monsters" (in fiction, the villain is often one who does not love).

 

One of your problems seems to be that you struggle with the idea that you might never know "what it's like" to feel love. That you feel you're missing out on something. This is a difficult topic, but I try. I think if deep down, you don't have a romantic attraction, and even if you try hard, you can't feel it, then there is not something you miss out on. You can't miss out on something that was never there to begin with.

 

Quote

force myself to accept the fact that I am (at least, I'm 90% sure that I am) aromantic

This sounds almost like a red flag to me. Forcing yourself into an identity doesn't sound very healthy … Especially since the word "asexual" just "clicks" with you naturally but you struggle with aromantic, maybe the things are a bit more complicated ...

 

Let's go from a different direction at this: Are you certain you are *not alloromantic*? If the answer to that is a resounding YES, then that does not automatically mean you're aromantic, but it DOES mean you are *somewhere* on the aromantic spectrum. And that could mean aromantic, grayromantic, demiromantic, arospike or one of the many other identities, or even something completely different. "being on the aromantic spectrum" (short: aspec) is also a valid and accepted label in itself (think of it like a wildcard).

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/11/2022 at 3:17 PM, Kroete said:

It is one thing when culture is full of romance, but it is a completely different thing when it's a culture that also views arospec people as "heartless monsters" (in fiction, the villain is often one who does not love).

That's true. I've never actually sat down to think about that before. Luckily for me, the books I read as a child conforming to this idea of a villain (e.g., Harry Potter, ignoring the fact that J.K. Rowling wrote it) pushed the idea of familial and platonic love even more than romantic love (at least that's how I saw it). But even then, I see how that could be damaging. It's probably half the reason I'm so conflicted, although I'm not gonna comb over every bit of media I've consumed to see how many match that idea.

On 6/11/2022 at 3:17 PM, Kroete said:

This sounds almost like a red flag to me. Forcing yourself into an identity doesn't sound very healthy … Especially since the word "asexual" just "clicks" with you naturally but you struggle with aromantic, maybe the things are a bit more complicated ...

Maybe I didn't express myself very well there. It's not that I feel the label doesn't fit, because (currently) it does. I suppose I'm more upset about the fact that it DOES seem to fit. Although like you said in your final paragraph, aromanticism is a spectrum and it's possible I fall somewhere else on there. But I'm yet to feel romantic attraction towards anyone (fictional or otherwise!) and even if I try to imagine the "ideal situation" it seems more like a close friendship. I know such things as QPRs exist, but I don't think that's what I'm looking for either. Of course, I know that could change in the future.

 

You HAVE made me think harder about why I'm upset at all:

On 6/11/2022 at 3:17 PM, Kroete said:

Now the question I ask you is that your desire to know "what it's like" is due to serious curiosity or is it due because of compliance? Remember, amatonormativity is BS, so compliance for the sake of it is pointless.

The answer is that I don't really know. Curiosity probably does play a part in it, but like I said in my original post, I think it's also a "fear of missing out" kinda thing. I want to know what it's like because everyone's always harping on about it. I wanna be able to understand why that is. Also, I guess it's a nice idea to me because it kinda guarantees you someone to talk to, and as it stands I don't have many good friends. I'm not trying to fish for sympathy here; the last couple years have been pretty gloomy, but I'm going to college in September and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to find people who I actually like and relate to. So maybe I'm just more interested in having friends / people who like me. If I think about it enough, I guess I find romantic acts sweet because of the sentiment (which I guess is the point). Like, you're giving them a teddy / flowers / whatever because you like them and think they deserve it, how nice. But a friend could do that and I'd find it just as sweet. I guess society just makes it out to be more special if a romantic partner does something for you than if a friend does. I'm not even sure if I really differentiate between a friend and a romantic partner in my mind. They kind of both seem like a "good friend" to me. I could just be getting mixed up with what a romantic partner even is.

 

Anyway, sorry for the rambling, I was typing as I thought stuff so it may be incoherent lol. I also didn't thoroughly grammar check this time ...

I appreciate your reply and your insight!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I recently had the realization that I probably am aromantic. Now I'll admit I had a small cry, because I'd been hoping that I might be in a romantic relationship one day.

 

But my experiences also made me realize how much my hobbies and interests mean to me, how many little things in the world give me great joy, and how dearly I value my alone time. I already have happiness available to me, and I don't have to chase a romantic relationship to access it.

 

Sorry if that sounds a bit weird, it's just the way things are for me personally.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...
nutmeag
On 6/25/2022 at 1:44 PM, Lilika said:

But my experiences also made me realize how much my hobbies and interests mean to me, how many little things in the world give me great joy, and how dearly I value my alone time. I already have happiness available to me, and I don't have to chase a romantic relationship to access it.

To me, this a really good way of seeing it. Our society has placed such a high price on romantic love with a single person, but humans find all sorts of ways to be happy and fulfilled beyond it. And I feel you on valuing my alone time.

 

I keep tooting the Loveless horn, but I really do suggest people who thinks they might be aro read Loveless by Alice Oseman. It was very validating for me to read, even if I figured myself out almost 2 decades after Georgia did in the book. Her reactions and thoughts were still so in line with mine that if I were the crying type, I would have bawled at feeling so seen. And the book has wonderful friendships and enjoying hobbies. it makes you feel so much better about being aroace.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I completely understand why it is easier for you to accept your asexual identity than your aromantic identity. Although I didn't know about the terms until my mid-20s, I had an understanding that I was asexual long before I knew the label. For me, I am sex-repulsed, so it was easy to accept my asexual identity because I don't even want to think about sex, so I don't feel like I am missing out on anything. It took longer to realize I was also aromantic though because I am romance-positive. I don't mind seeing examples of romance in books, movies, shows (as long as it's not ridiculously unrealistic like a Hallmark movie), and that appealed to me more. It sounds like you might also be romance-positive, which might be why you are having a harder time accepting your aromantic identity.

 

As a previous comment mentioned, amatanormativity can also be a big factor in how we feel about romance. It is easy to believe that romance is this magical thing that you are missing out on when that is the message that is being thrust upon us everywhere. I'd suggest learning more about amatanormativity to help you figure out what you are actually feeling vs. what society makes you think you should be feeling. For me, this helped me realize that the parts about romance that I actually found appealing were the acts of kindness that come with it, but the truth is that you don't need to be in a romantic relationship to have acts of kindness. For example, if I know that one of my friends is going through a tough time, I might get them a thoughtful gift to show that I am thinking of them/care about them, and my close friends do the same to me in return. Going to college and making new friends will hopefully be a good way for you to find different ways to connect with people in fulfilling ways. That doesn't mean there won't still be times that you feel lonely, but remember that alloromantic people in partnerships still feel lonely or unfulfilled sometimes too. Stories may tell us "they lived happily ever after" once people are in romantic relationships, but that's a lie and it takes a lot of work for them to maintain those relationships. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/10/2022 at 7:14 AM, Lupin- said:

I think romance is sweet, if kind of overdone. I would be quite happy to experience it. More to the point, I feel like I SHOULD be experiencing it, and that by not being able to I'm severely missing out.

I understand. I am asexual, but not sure about whether I am aromantic or not. I feel like I want to experience romance because it seems to be such a huge important thing for people. But I'm 38 and never felt like I was ever "in love with anyone." I have had a few mild crushes  - thought someone was good looking for example, or felt some attraction to them for some unknown reason. But it goes away and I never feel I actually want a relationship with that person or that I really care about them that much. To be honest I just feel quite confused by it all. I don't know if its because I'm depressed and have anxiety that I find it difficult to get close to people. 

Unfortunely you can't force romantic feelings/attraction for someone. I think the important thing to remember is that even though you may not experience romantic type love you can still love. I love my cat and we have a very special relationship. There are different ways to love other then romantic. You could love a friend or family member or pet. 

I don't really have any advice sorry! The whole romance thing kinda confuses me. I like living alone because its easier to cope that way as I feel more anxiety around people. But even though I like being alone, there's still this part of me that wants a romantic relationship, that feels somehow another person would make my life better somehow ?? And yet I don't even know how to have a romantic relationship. And stuff like kissing and physical touching is unappealing to me. So yeah, I'm not much help sorry. But thought I'd let you know you're not alone in the feelings you describe.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

With me coming to terms with being aromantic has also been hard. Romance is one of the most talked about things. Growing up I used to watch TLC Say yes to the dress. I never had a plan for wedding, but they seemed nice. Having day to express love sounds magical. I also love to dress up lol. Coming to terms made me realize I can still have that it just would be different. I will be expressing my love for someone platonically and would just be more about commitment and party lol. I feel the same way about my asexuality. I do not feel like I am missing out at all. I think just looking at what you have really think if you feel like missing out on something. I have great friends who I love dearly. I have love for myself and enjoy being alone. I have hobbies that I love and bring joy. I am really happy.  I still sometimes think about romance after watching move or show but I am less upset about it. It's more of fantasy in mind then what happens in reality lol. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...